To determine the effects of the US economy on heart failure hospitalization rates.
The recession was associated with worsening unemployment, loss of private insurance and prescription medication benefits, medication nonadherence, and ultimately increased rates of hospitalization for heart failure.
We compared hospitalization rates at a large, single, academic medical center from July 1, 2006 to February 28, 2007, a time of economic stability, and July 1, 2008 to February 28, 2009, a time of economic recession in the United States.
Significantly fewer patients had private medical insurance during the economic recession than during the control period (36.5% vs 46%; P = 0.04). Despite this, there were no differences in the heart failure hospitalization or readmission rates, length of hospitalization, need for admission to an intensive care unit, in-hospital mortality, or use of guideline-recommended heart failure medications between the 2 study periods.
We conclude that despite significant effects on medical insurance coverage, rates of heart failure hospitalization at our institution were not significantly affected by the recession. Additional large-scale population-based research is needed to better understand the effects of fluctuations in the US economy on heart failure hospitalization rates. Clin. Cardiol. 2012 DOI: 10.1002/clc.21996
The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.